The guidebook, developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology for the Georgia Department of Transportation, helps planners assess their pedestrian environment and prioritize projects to improve it.
Advocates of pedestrian travel say walking can help citizens and communities in numerous ways. It can decrease obesity, and therefore improve public health. Walking can reduce air and noise pollution, as well as traffic congestion and petroleum consumption. It also builds a sense of community. Also, walking requires no special training, and it's relatively cheap to implement. The guidebook explains how.
"There's something in the guidebook for everyone -- from local, regional and state planners in the beginning stages all the way to the advanced stages of developing pedestrian facilities -- and that was our intent," said Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Adjo Amekudzi, the project's principal researcher. "It was also important to us that it not be prescriptive…. There is not one model that fits all."
Amekudzi and fellow researcher Karen Dixon -- a former Georgia Tech associate professor who led the study until she moved to Oregon State University in 2005 -- worked with an advisory committee of public and private group stakeholders to establish a vision, goals and objectives for pedestrian planning in Georgia.
"Georgia must continue to develop pedestrian facilities (which include sidewalks, walkways, crosswalks and shelters) as a viable transportation choice," Amekudzi said. "We want to make walking for short trips safe and convenient and provide citizens the opportunity to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. That is our vision."
Given the number of accidents in Georgia involving both pedestrians and vehicles, safety is a high priority with regard to pedestrian facilities, Amekudzi says. From 2000 to 2003 in Georgia, 8,416 pedestrians were injured, and 624 were killed in collisions with vehicles.
Detailed in the guidebook (now available online at www.dot.state.ga.us/bikeped/pedestrian_plan) are four primary goals: 1) enhance safety; 2) create seamless integration of pedestrian facilities into the transportation system; 3) integrate planning and design of pedestrian facilities into transportation planning; 4) encourage a pedestrian-friendly environment for everyone.
"We understand that we cannot build our way out of congestion," said Georgia DOT Commissioner Harold Linnenkohl. "This guidebook, which provides communities with concrete strategies to create bike and pedestrian alternatives, is critical to our overall transportation program."
Each goal in the guidebook correlates to several action items, and the guidebook provides basic planning tools to help achieve these ends. "This allows us over time to execute our goals and objectives incrementally to get to the more pedestrian-friendly environment we need in Georgia," Amekudzi noted.
The 132-page guidebook includes six chapters covering the vision and goals, planning and prioritizing projects, pedestrian facility funding, Georgia pedestrian laws, pedestrian safety and educational strategies, and land-use and zoning policy. It also cites some examples of successful pedestrian facility projects and provides a listing of other pedestrian planning resources.
Though the Peach State is the targeted end user, governments outside Georgia may find parts of the guidebook useful, Amekudzi noted.
Here are some highlights from the guidebook:
- A prioritization framework provides details on how to choose pedestrian projects. Planners should consider an area's pedestrian deficiency index factors, such as safety concerns, and pedestrian potential factors, such as centers of activity. "To come out on top, you need to fund projects where you have the highest pedestrian deficiency and potential index factors," Amekudzi explained.
- "Funds for building pedestrian-friendly facilities are still hard to come by, but the situation is getting better, thanks in part to some recent federal legislation," Amekudzi said. The guidebook cites the Transportation Efficiency Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) and the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). These laws make pedestrian project funding available to improve air quality and enhance surface transportation. The SAFETEA-LU law funded the Fifth Street Bridge project in midtown Atlanta to make it a pedestrian-friendly environment.
Other funding sources include the federal Safe Routes to School program, federal lands and recreational trails money, and highway safety programs. In Georgia, the Governor's Office of Highway Safety and the Georgia Division of Public Health fund pedestrian projects to create community improvement districts and reduce traffic congestion. Also in Georgia, local-option sales taxes can be used to fund pedestrian projects.
- A fundamental question for pedestrians is safety. A lack of driver and pedestrian education, as well pedestrian infrastructure, are often to blame for collisions between pedestrians and vehicles, Amekudzi said. Education supported by good pedestrian infrastructure will help to convince people that they can safely and conveniently walk, rather than ride, for short trips, she added.
- It's important for pedestrians and drivers to understand that crosswalks exist at all corners of intersections, even if the crosswalks are not marked. Also, at crosswalks without traffic signals, pedestrians always have the right-of-way.
- "Land use and zoning have a huge impact on pedestrian travel," Amekudzi said. "That's the core of it. We need land use and zoning that allows mixed-use development to promote a pedestrian-friendly environment." The guidebook outlines some pedestrian-related ordinances and policies.
- An urban example of a walkable community is Atlantic Station in Atlanta. It is a 138-acre, mixed-use development containing retail, commercial, and residential properties, along with public spaces. Atlantic Station is built on the former site of Atlantic Steel Company and was one of the nation's largest brownfields.
Jane Sanders | EurekAlert!
Tool helps cities to plan electric bus routes, and calculate the benefits
09.01.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Realistic training for extreme flight conditions
28.12.2016 | Technical University of Munich (TUM)
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.04.2017 | Life Sciences